Monday 6 July 2020


The Cat's Paw (1934 - b/w) - Routine Harold Lloyd. See also Welcome Danger (1929 - b/w) and Feet First (1930 - b/w)

Moby Dick (1956) - I like the design, but it's very artificial.

Guns at Batasi (1964 - b/w) - RIP Earl Cameron. Above-average British war film, despite Graham Stark AND Mia Farrow.
Not unlike the Hill (1965 - b/w).

The Dirty Dozen (1967) - Overlong, and it looks so clearly England, but it's relatively solid.

Mosquito Squadron (1968) - Routine WW2 fare.

Machine Gun McCain (1969) - Above-average Italian crime shoot-em-up, maybe because it stars John Cassavetes, Peter Falk and Gena Rowlands.

The Enchanting Ghost (1970) - Spooky wuxia.

Waterloo (1970) - Bloated Euro-epic version of the story.

I Walk the Line (1970) - Routine nonsensical drama with Tuesday Weld and Gregory Peck.

I Never Sang for my Father (1970) - Confused but affecting drama with Melvyn Douglas and Gene Hackman.

Going Home (1971) - Dreary Robert Mitchum/Jan Michael Vincent drama.

The Love Machine (1971) - Bonkbustery Jacqueline Susann transatlantic tripe.

What Became of Jack and Jill (1971) - Dreary, exploitative Paul Nicholas gran abuse vehicle.

Travels with my Aunt (1972) - Maggie Smith drags along Alec McCowen on a complicated journey. Smith looks younger than her on-screen nephew / son (because well, she is). The thick makeup doesn't help. She looks the same age as her supposed toy-boy, Lou Gossett (his bald tonsure doesn't help). Nice to see La Cabina's Jose Luis Lopez Vasquez.

Stand Up And Be Counted (1972) - Forgettable women's lib comedy with Jacqueline Bisset.

To Find A Man (1972)/ Our Time (1974) - Well-made if upsetting Pamela Sue Martin teenage private school stories of abortion and early death.

Young Winston (1972) - Patriotic propaganda.

Go For A Take (1972) - Reg Varney and Norman Rossington bungle into "Starwood Studios". Dennis Price plays Dracula and there's a moment on the set of Here Comes the Double Deckers. Forgettable sub-sub-Carry On action. Sets and costumes from Carry Ons and various other pictures recur.

Images (1972) - Not really an Altman fan, but this does have something - Susannah York goes mad in Wicklow. It captures the strangeness, the desolation of places like Powerscourt Waterfall and Glencree. Though an Ireland with no Irish people, but French, Americans (Rene Auberjonois - yay!)  and Brits (plus at least one small-part Irish doing posh).

The Wrath of God (1972) - Been looking for this for years. And it didn't disappoint. It does go into a generic western by the end, but it starts off well.  Jack Higgins adap with Robert Mitchum as a mercenary/priest, Ken Hutchinson of CITV's Murphy's Mob in an ill-fated Hollywood would-be breakthrough as an IRA man (with a quite convincing accent), Victor Buono hamming up and enjoying himself immensely doing a kind of Cockney James Mason voice as an ex-Black and Tan, versus generic Central Americans Frank Langella and John Colicos, the latter possibly the least convincing Hispanic I have ever seen, with his Mid-Atlantic colonial tones. Rita Hayworth's last film.

Willie Dynamite (1974) - Routine though relatively interesting blaxploitation starring Roscoe Orman as  a pimp, a year before he'd take over as Gordon in Sesame Street.

Welcome to Arrow Beach (1974) - Sleazy Laurence Harvey serial killer story. Somewhat indebted to Peeping Tom. But Harvey certainly had a director's eye. Pity this was his only film. And playing a serial killer suits him, for once.

Thomasine and Bushrod (1974) - Vonetta McGee and the unlikeable Max Julien in a black Bonnie and Clyde western.

The Stranger and the Gunfighter (1974) - Energetic spaghetti western/ Shaw Brothers kung fu crossover with Lee Van Cleef and Lo Lieh. Eventually goes a bit sub-Trinity. In the end, Van Cleef puts on a coolie hat and floral frock and goes to China.

Hangup (1974) - Rough blaxploitation - unbelievably, a seventysomething Henry Hathaway's last film.

Buster and Billie (1974)/Baby Blue Marine (1976) - Identikit overaged teen weepies with Jan Michael Vincent. Albino Richard Gere pops up in the latter.

The Take (1974) - Routine black actioner with Billy Dee Williams, Vic Morrow, Eddie Albert - from Robert Hartford-Davies.

Zebra Force (1975) - Rote rough sub-blaxploiter.

Aaron Loves Angela (1975) - Rather sweet (though overtly complicated by blaxploitation gangsters) romance with Kevin Hooks and Irene Cara. Has a poster for Terror in the Wax Museum on 42nd Street.With Jose Feliciano and Moses Gunn, and Robert Hooks - Kevin's dad.

Barry Lyndon (1975) - It's truly an epic, but maybe staring at green fields full of British character actors is a bit too close to home.

 A mezzanotte va la ronda del piacere (1975) - Routine Italian comedy with Vitti, Cardinale, Gassman, Giannini....

The Passenger (1975) - Arty-farty Antonioni idea of the BBC, with Jack Nicholson helping the Beeb (incarnated by Jenny Runacre and Ian Hendry).

The Other Side of the Mountain (1975)/The Other Side of the Mountain Part 2 (1977)  - Ropey sub-TVM weepies with the instantly forgotten Marilyn Hassett.

Bite the Bullet (1975) - Routine western, but kind of fun, with Hackman, Coburn, Bergen, Bannen, feels very anachronistic....

Orders to Kill (1976) - Spanish Jungle actioner with Sydne Rome, Helmut Berger, Jose Ferrer and Kevin McCarthy.

Sparkle (1976) - Glossy, rather empty 60s girl group story produced by Beryl Vertue (yes, Robert Stigwood Organisation involvement) and Joel Schumacher. With Irene Cara, Lonette McKee and 30 something Dwan Smith.

The Slipper and the Rose (1976) - Plush but forgettable musical with Richard Chamberlain as Prince Charming, and in a  weird coincidence, as Cinderella, Gemma Craven (who played the priest-romancing Polly Hope in the Thorn Birds-riffing Father Ted ep And God Created Woman). Weird to see Sherrie Hewson and Roy Barraclough in something together other than Coronation Street. Plus Barraclough made far too few films.

Shadow of the Hawk (1976) - Dreary Canadian horror.

Silent Movie (1976) - Cheapish but interesting enough time-killer with Mel Brooks, Dom DeLuise and Marty Feldman lolling about, and Bernadette Peters and Madeleine Kahn.

The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976) - Routine baseballing with Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor.

Midway (1976) - Stodgy warfare with an ageing cast.

Hot Potato (-1976) -  Jim Kelly as Black Belt Jones in this unfunny, jokey sequel. Black Belt Jones (1974) itself I find kind of beige. Until the sudsy climax.

The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones (1976) - Ropey starry sex comedy with Nicky Henson, Trevor Howard, Terry-Thomas, Arthur Lowe, Georgia Brown, Joan Collins, William Mervyn, Murray Melvin and Madeleine Smith.

Taxi Driver (1976) - I like the setting but I find the whole thing so unlikeable. It is an exploitation film, though. The theater marquees include Tommy, Return of the Pink Panther, Wind and the Lion, Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold, Bucktown and Cannabis - the only Italian crime movie set in New York to star Paul Nicholas.

The Greatest (1977) - Routine TV movie-ish biopic with Muhammad Ali as himself, and a ton of all-star cameos.

Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977) - Sleazy and unlikeable.

One on One (1977) - Routine teen sport story with Robby Benson throwing hoops.

Oh God (1977) - George Burns is God, and John Denver his disciple. Perfect Sunday afternoon fodder.

Avalanche (1978) - Dreary Corman disaster padded out with skiing and skating.

Paradise Alley (1978) - The greatest theme tune ever.

Big Wednesday (1978) - Interesting but I'm not particularly done about surfing.

Almost Summer (1978) - A bunch of thirty-years-old do prom.

The Sea Gypsies (1978) - Routine family adventure from the Wilderness Family stable.

National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) - I'm not one for 70s teen sex coms, but Landis' direction adds something, even though it is mostly ugly.

House Calls (1978) - Rote Walter Matthau vehicle, with Glenda Jackson MP.

Same Time Next Year (1978) - Sub-Neil Simon nonsense with Ellen Burstyn and Alan Alda.

I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978) - Weird seeing Tessie O'Shea and Georgia Brown's names on the CBS Theater. It has a  fun, zany, almost CFF/Disney feel, but it's clearly all done at Universal Studios.

Movie Movie (1978) - You can tell Lew Grade is behind this. It has that weird faux-Old Hollywood parody feel of a lot of British light entertainment telly. It lacks Stanley Baxter. It even has George C. Scott playing Baxter.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978) - What a mess, a peculiar halfway house between American and British light entertainment. Frankie Howerd really did think this was his American break. And yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is Barbara Dickson at he end.

Moment by Moment (1978) - Tomlin and Travolta  are each other's beards.

If Ever I See You Again (1978) - Dreary vehicle for perv Joe Brooks. A spiritual sequel to his You Light Up My Life (1977 - Didi Conn dressing the same as her character's childhood self). Even the theme tune's virtually the same.

The Electric Horseman (1978) -Lots of Kellogg's placement in this dreary modern western. Plus Willie Nelson.

Casey's Shadow (1978) - Disney-esque horsing about with Walter Matthau.

FM (1978) - Episodic slice of life radio station dramedy with Martin Mull, Eileen Brennan and a beardy Michael Brandon.

Kramer vs Kramer (1979) - What a dirge.

The Prisoner of Zenda (1979) - Another dying Sellers folly.

The Main Event (1979) - Can't stand Streisand.
See also The Owl and the Pussycat (1970) and For Pete's Sake (1974).

The Frisco Kid (1979) - Jewish Polish rabbi Gene Wilder teams up with cowboy Harrison Ford. Feels a bit confused in what it is meant to be. A bit Trinity-ish.

Walk Proud (1979) - Robby Benson plays a Chicano with a load of dubbin on his face.

Chapter Two (1979) - Neil Simon bobbins.

1941 (1979) - Overlong, self-indulgent Spielberg, though a lot of Raiders is in there. And weirdly, product placement for Libby's.

Alien (1979) - I wonder what Jack Gold would have done.

Tilt (1979) - Forgettable Brooke Shields pinballer.

And Justice for All (1979) - Bland courtroomer.

Fast Break (1979) - Dreary basketball comedy.

McVicar (1980)- Sub-Euston, serviceable biopic of the criminal-turned-journalist starring Roger Daltrey, plus Adam Faith, Billy Murray, Berkoff, Malcolm Tierney - all the usual faces plus Cheryl Campbell and Georgina Hale. Has Rog hide in a massive Polo ad. The exteriors are mostly Dublin, because you could shoot prisons here, but not in England.

Liar's Moon (1982) - Tedious Texan teen melodrama set in  a 50s where country coexists with mohawks. Starring Matt Dillon and the vacuous generic blonde Cindy Fisher.

Laughterhouse (1983) - Twee, sub-Ealing Film4 starring Ian Holm and Penelope Wilton as farmers.

Mesmerized (1985) - Staid, worthy but boring New Zealand melodrama with Jodie Foster, John Lithgow, Michael Murphy, Dan Shor, Harry Andrews, from Tony Ginnane.

Bellman and True (1988) - Baroque Euston/Handmade drama with Bernard Hill, Derek Newark and Frances Tomelty. Has Kieran O'Brien watch The Price is Right with Leslie Crowther.

The Everlasting Secret Family (1988) - Thirty year old schoolboy has gay sex while watching the Price is Right Australia. Another Tony Ginnane production.

Die Hard (1988) - A perfectly routine actioner.

Point Break (1991) - Not able to catch the surf on this one. It semi-accurately captures Australia in Oregon by having a member of the cast of Sons and Daughters appear, despite the very cold-looking  and  unmistakably Pacific Northwest woods behind. Fake Australian radio! Apparently, the Australian radio weatherman is veteran European exploitation looper Gregory Snegoff.

Romper Stomper (1992) - Routine Aussie drama with Russell Crowe as a Neo-Nazi. Somewhat surprising to see 4th billed, Alex Scott - the frog-headed victim of Dr. Phibes, and Worzel's Aussie cousin Cobber Gummidge.

The General (1996) - Jon Voight somehow channels the Irish character actor within and becomes a convincing Irishman. Brendan Gleeson is definitely the most convincing Martin Cahill of the screen. The resemblance is uncanny. He's not afraid to make himself look shit (unlike Kevin Spacey's sharp-dressed Ordinary Decent Criminal with that bizarre accent). Compare the flashbacks with ODC - Gleeson is all straggly combover, and dirty pig T-shirt, while Spacey is dressed as a hippy in Llewelyn-Bowen wig. Spacey's trying to look cool, Gleeson's just a narky gourier. It still falls into the trap of painting Cahill as a loveable rogue. And miring the crimes for sub-Ealing capers (not helped by choosing to film it in b/w). The fact there's so many Irish faces in this is maybe why there's so many foreigners in Ordinary Decent Criminal. I can't fancy Gleeson though. He's Ireland's uncle. Spacey when I was a little kid, was "the king of cool", as Empire christened him, while blokes like Gleeson can be seen in every pub, in every takeaway, in every village.

Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood (1996) - Never got the Wayans.

A Very Brady Sequel (1997) - Ergh.

Mallrats (1998) - F)ck off.

Life is Beautiful (1998) - Goddamm Roberto Benigni.

Go (1999) - Stop.

The Big Lebowski (1998) - Sam Elliott's stuff is so much better than the rest.

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